Pink puts on joyous carnival in DC

The pop-rock goddess is on awe-inspiring tour that feels like a career victory lap

Pink was the one thing the rain-soaked crowd at Nationals Park was happy to see fall from the sky Wednesday night (Aug 7th) in DC. As she descended from the stage with her angelic voice, Pink literally got the party started with early 2000’s hit. (Anyone else remember Kids’ Choice Awards 2002 with the pink slime? No? Just me? Ok.)

There is perhaps no more versatile a pop-rock performer than Pink—stylized P!NK but for editorial reasons, we’ll be using the word as in the color…after all, all the merch was pink!—Much has been made of her ability to hold a note while doing high-flying aerial stunts. But Pink is more than a theatrical gimmick.

Her voice can exude poppy fun (“Get the Party Started”), release a Pat Benatar-like rocker’s growl (“Just Like Fire”), and breathe anthemic life statement (“Fuckin’ Perfect”).

And Pink can sing circles around any female balladeer as well. Her piano rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” that she serenaded DC with on this night was full of aching and longing, and performed at a slightly faster pace than traditional that added a perfect hint of desperation.

Another surprise for DC, Pink brought her young daughter out to sing “Cover Me in Sunshine,” a COVID-era recording that mother and daughter got done at home in one take. This was followed by an acoustic section “Please Don’t Leave Me” and “When I Get There.” This section made me crave a Pink country album. “I Am Here” especially had hoe-down vibes. Brandi Carlile is one of her openers this trek, so…maybe?

On this night, though, the crowd was treated to the iconic voice of (finally) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo as the rain subsided. Their all-too-short set included “We Belong Together” and of course “Heartbreaker.” The crowd was on the edge of their seat hoping that Benatar would return to harmonize with Pink as she herself interspersed “Heartbreaker” into “Just Like Fire.” Alas, it was not meant to be. But you can never go wrong with more Pat Benatar.

This is a fact Pink herself agreed with, saying she “fucking love[s] that woman.” She also gave shoutouts to Carlile and other artists she admires. Pink (real name Alicia Moore) also took every chance she could to authentically interact with the audience. Whether it was thanking a man in uniform for his service, or bending down to sign a poster-sized picture of herself and a fan, there were touching genuine moments throughout the night. Of the latter, Pink even remembered what music festival the enlarged snap was from.

Another cool moment was when she “won” her own contest. During a costume change, her pianist Jason would fancily rift one of her deep-cuts, and if she guessed it right, Jason would hand her a chocolate. She only won her game four times this tour. Perhaps a good omen for the Nats upcoming season?

The summer carnival’s palm-treed, disco-balled stage was the perfect portal to a Barbie-like “summer all the time” world. (Pink even said she felt honored by the movie’s “Weird Barbie” character seemingly taking after her.) It was the perfect play land for the bevy of summertime standards that make up a hefty portion of Pink’s 20-plus year catalogue of hits.

Of course, the night ended with the much-talked-about high flight to the back of the arena. This, and all of Pink aerial activities were…to borrow a song title…fucking perfect. I have literally never seen anything like this. Yes, her ability to belt while belted in is stunning. TikTok videos do not do it justice. It must be seen to be believed. Even when she was not flinging about, that she could still sing while 5 stories above the ground is something no other artist dare try.

“Legacy artist” is a term that gets used way, way too much by reviewers such as yours truly who brave downpours in the middle of concerts just to write about them (Side note: there was something cathartic about the heavy drench that accompanied newer song “Irrelevant.”) But by the time “So What” came around and Pink was taking her victory lap around the stage, it was clear that the music is as much a part of pop culture as she is. And that’s the exact definition of legacy. This tour is a joyous victory lap through those last twenty years that have cemented her place in entertainment history. To paraphrase, So So What, she’ll ALWAYS be a rock star.

Now if only the Rock Hall will come calling…

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.